Duke had several key visitors on campus for their rivalry game and win over North Carolina this past weekend and it’s time to take an initial look at the possible results with some nuggets on how the visits went.
Firstly, Myles Turner, Luke Kennard and Chase Jeter are listed as some of the nations top prospects and all of them were on their official visit to Duke.
Turner is the top remaining prospect from the Class of 2014, is a center/power forward who stands a lean but muscular 6-11. He’s believed to have high interest in Kansas and Texas as well.
Luke Kennard is an outstanding dual athlete and shooting guard from Franklin, Ohio and Chase Jeter is a sleek forward from Bishop Gorman High in Las Vegas, Nevada. Both are in the loaded Class of 2015.
Also in attendance was local Kinston product and lean forward Brandon Ingram from the 2015 class and one of the heavyweights in 2016, Harry Giles, a post talent from High Point.
So, how did their visits go? Well, here we go -
The Kennard and Jeter families came [private] in on Friday and attended the Duke practice. As usual, the coaches would on occasion go over to talk with them during breaks.
Later that afternoon, the staff spent more time with the parents while the players would hang out and attend the pep rally and campus festivities.
The word is that after practice, Chase Jeter wanted to remain in Cameron to shoot around, meaning he was starting to really enjoy his trip.
The Kennard’s were shown the Duke style of doing things as well and Duke Assistant Coach Jon Scheyer seems to have bonded with the Dad.
On game day, all of the aforementioned prospects joined Jahlil Okafor and Justise Winslow who of course, are Duke bound. While I am on these two I noted two things in my minds eye.
Firstly, Okafor has trimmed down a lot since this past AAU season as some his reshapes his body as he matures. Winslow, seems more muscular and his sturdy frame is beyond a freshman body right now. These two are definitely going to be ready to go form day one if the look test means anything.
Anyhow, back to game day and how the recruits responded. In a word, the visits went “great.” In fact, I now consider Duke the leader for Luke Kennard and Chase Jeter and that’s a good thing.
Kennard has long been rumored to be a Kentucky lean due to lineage in his family, but Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski has made some major in roads here. This is a hard nosed kid who has that little edge when on the court and there is absolutely no reason to believe Duke is not right there if not the favorite from my vantage.
Jeter, who literally had to be chased out of the gym, enjoyed his visit immensely if facial expressions and actions mean anything. Both player had prominent cheers tossed their way from the Crazies who site directly behind me.
Before I go on, let me talk a bit about those Crazies. They are the line or tent monitors and the ones who start the cheers. And they are well versed in looking over my, er, shoulder, to see who to call out.
Another thing to mention before I proceed, is that there were a lot of celebrities in the crowd and this worked well in my opinion in helping set the tone and atmosphere of the game.
Dallas Cowboy’s Head Coach Jason Garrett and their quarterback, Tony Romo attended the Duke practice on Friday and they were at the game as well. Both sat directly beside the prospects and mingled with them often and said kids seem to have really enjoy their presence.
Also in attendance was NFL commish Roger Goodella along with Barry Switzer and many others, including Duke celebs and every ESPN type you can imagine be it Dicky Vitale, Jay Bilas or Jay Williams.
And then there was the Cameron atmosphere and the old girl did not let Duke fans down when trying to make an impression. You see when some come to visit Duke, they freak out at the size, thinking it is small. But once that cozy place feels with rabid fans, it’s a sight to see and a sound to hear.
Anyhow, back to the prospects. The Crazies will often cheer a prospects name followed by sit with us. They even make room before this happens to help sway their target.
They started with Kennard and Jeter and the two wore wide smiles as they came over and settled in directly behind me. There they cheered just like the Crazies did at times and it is worth noting that they all were clearly rooting for Duke while the game was going on, much more so than what I’d deem normal and my seat is straight away from the bench.
Once, Jeter even held up a colorful anti UNC sign of the kind that on many occasions gets taken away during breaks which I found funny.
Kennard was a little more reserved than Jeter, but that’s the way he is on the court as well, a cool customer. Kennard would crack a smile often though and they enjoyed themselves immensely with the students.
A bit later, Myles Turner joined the fray and it was clear that he too was having a big time. The trio continued to cheer and only left when an usher urged them to with about two minutes left in the game.
Many have asked my read on Turner and it’s tough to come up with one at this time in that I haven’t had a lit of feedback yet. But there is no doubt he was having fun here as well and he was outgoing and seemingly appreciative of his visit. But Duke is still in it and with a player of his ilk, that is never a bad thing.
Many of the prospects would later go campus hopping where they checked out the bon fires and parties. They also got to spend time with students and talking education but it is spring break at Duke, so not quite the normal scene.
By all accounts I have received, they had a good time but stuck close to the team. The Crazies also tried their best to get Harry Giles to come over, but he smiled them off. Giles who is still recovering from an injury is a man child and I love his game. His early relationship with Krzyzewski is priceless but he’ll have some teams coming hard at him.
As for Brandon Ingram, we’ll have to see how things shake out. He recently visited UNC but he’s been emphatic in conversations past with me that he is a Duke fan. Duke Assistant Nate James is the lead here and Duke will keep an eye on him. Ingram is soooo slender, but he has some upside, but he could be a redshirt candidate if Duke gets more serious in the future just to allow his body to catch up to his talent.
Duke also continues to recruit Diamond Stone as a top priority and big men are almost the soul focus past Kennard in his class at this time. That, of course, will change come AAU season when the coaches get out and evaluate more.
A sleeper name to watch is Alonzo Mourning’s son who is in this coming years class. Duke has showed some interest in him as has Florida and Georgetown. And we all know Coach K loves and is great with kids who have NBA lineage in their blood. Trey Mourning has had some recent contact from Duke.
In a side note, the surgery I had on my hands was successful and I can type at length again and that means we’ll have other updates coming.
Lastly, what a great win for momentum last night and Cameron, was again great. It was a really good night for Duke in many respects. [/private]